Medicinal Uses of Elderberry.
- Basic Botanical Data of Elderberry.
- Plant Parts Introduction of Sambucus Nigra,Sambucus Canadensis.
- Botanical Description of Sambucus Nigra and Sambucus Canadensis.
- Habitat of European Elder,American Elder and Dwarf Elder.
- History of Elderberry.
- Chemistry and Pharmacology of Elderberry.
- Phyto-chemicals of Elder Berry.
- Medicinal Constituents of Elderberry Parts.
- Medicinal Uses of Elderberry Plant Part.
- Medicinal Uses of Elderberry.
- Edible Uses of Elderberry.
- Other Uses of Elderberry.
- Magical Uses of Elderberry.
- Therapeutics and Pharmacology of Elderberry.
- Administration and Suggestions of Elderberry.
- Research Update:Sambucus nigra or Elderberry
Medicinal Uses of Elderberry.
Antiinflammatory; Aperient; Birthing aid; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emetic; Expectorant; Laxative; Purgative; Stimulant.
American elder was widely employed as a medicinal herb by many native North American tribes who used it to treat a wide range of complaints. It is still commonly used as a domestic remedy.
A tea made from the inner bark and root bark is diuretic, emetic and a strong laxative. A tea made from the root bark is used to promote labour in childbirth and in treating headaches, kidney problems and mucous congestion. The inner bark is also applied as a poultice to cuts, sore or swollen limbs etc in order to relieve pain and swelling.
A poultice of the leaves is applied to bruises and to cuts in order to stop the bleeding.
An infusion of the leaf buds is strongly purgative.
Medicinal virtues: The bark, leaves, flowers and berries all have medicinal properties. The first shoots to appear, boiled like Asparagus, and also the young leaves and stalks boiled in fat broth, carry forth phlegm and choler.
The middle or inward bark boiled in water and given in drink works much more violently. The berries, either green or, dry, expel the same humour. They are also often given with good success to help the dropsy. The bark of the root boiled in wine, or the juice thereof drank, is more powerful than the leaves or fruit.
The juice of the root causes vomiting and purges the watery humours of' the dropsy. A decoction of the root mollifies the hardness of the mother, if women sit thereon, and opens their veins and brings down their courses. The berries boiled in wine perform the same effect. The juice of the green leaves applied to hot inflammations of the eyes assuages them. The decoction of the berries in wine provokes urine.
The leaves or flowers distilled in the month of May and the legs washed with it takes away ulcers and sores. The hands washed with it helps the shaking of them and the palsy.
Elder flowers are stimulant, diaphoretic and diuretic. A warm tea of the flowers is stimulant and induces sweating, taken cold it is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of fevers and infant colic. An infusion of the leaves and flowers is used as an antiseptic wash for skin problems, wounds etc.
The fresh juice of the fruit, evaporated into a syrup, is laxative. It also makes a good ointment for treating burns when mixed with an oily base. The dried fruit can be made into a tea that is useful in the treatment of cholera and diarrhoea.
Some caution should be exercised if using any part of the plant fresh since it can cause poisoning.
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.
The wide range of medicinal benefits (assistance in treating colds, flu and asthma, allergies, diabetes and weight loss) is possibly due to the elderberry's high anti-oxidant properties and capacity to build the immune system.
Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.
At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.
Inhibits the influenza virus:Anti-viral activity.
Historically, both elderflowers and elderberries were considered to assist in building immune system resistance and to assist in the prevention of colds and flu.Elderberry fruit has been used for 2,500 years by people with influenza, coughs and colds. The berry provides a natural source of vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6, as well as fruit acids, anthocyanic pigments and several minerals. It is highly prized as an immune-system booster.
A recent Norwegian study has shown that elderberry juice (Sambucus nigra) not only stimulates the immune system, but also directly inhibits the influenza virus. The trials used the juice of the berries, made into a syrup, and was considered effective in most of the same conditions as the elderflower tea.
The active ingredients in the elderberry were found to halt the spread of the virus by disarming the enzyme responsible for attacking the cell walls of a healthy organism. The study, which was reported in The Journal of International Medical Research, showed that on average, flu patients given the elderberry extract recovered within 3.1 days compared to 7.1 days for those given the placebo. As proof that elder has more to it than the enzyme-neutralizing constituents, researchers found that the patients who took it also had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus.
A previous study published by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that nearly 90 per cent of flu patients given elderberry extract were completely free of symptoms within two to three days, as compared to at least six days with a placebo.
Elderberry has been proven effective against eight different influenza viruses. The study indicated that it may provide protection against a wide range of flu viruses, solving the perennial problem of the "mutating flu", because most strains of the virus use the same enzyme mechanism to penetrate cells. Elder preparations may be superior to flu shots for another reason: 50% of people who get vaccinated report side effects. Whilst the properties of elders have long been touted, it is not intended that it be taken as a substitute for a flu vaccine.
An Israeli study on the anti-viral activity of elderberry extract found that in vitro elderberry extract inhibited replication of a number of strains of influenza A and B in cell cultures. In the same paper, administration of elderberry extract to 27 patients with influenza shortened the duration of flu symptoms.
Relief upper respiratory infections:Sambucus nigra agglutinins (SNAs)
Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections. Laboratory studies have shown that elderberry reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and some studies also suggest that elderberry can help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decreased nasal congestion in those with bacterial sinusitis. The combination herbal product Sinupret, which contains elder flowers, has been used successfully to treat bronchitis. There are also commercial syrups and lozenges with elderberry extract available for treatment of cold or flu symptoms.
Elderberry has been shown to be very effective against at least eight strains of flu virus. It contains Sambucus nigra agglutinins (SNAs), which help prevent some types of flu from infecting healthy cells. A clinical trial of elderberry found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections in three days, which was half the time needed for recovery in participants taking a placebo. In Israel, where the study was conducted, elderberry is sold in the form of Sambucol, a patented herbal medicine recommended for treatment of flu symptoms.
Elderberry extract may kill the avian flu virus, specifically Sambucol:
Dr Madeleine Mumcuoglu, the Israel-based developer of Sambucol, said the good results confirmed her earlier findings on the product, which is currently marketed around the world as a natural supplement for fighting common flu. ...
"But I'm very happy with these results, especially as the work was done by Dr John Oxford, a reputable specialist in flu,"she added.
Dr Mumcuoglu stressed that the results could in no way demonstrate a benefit for humans infected with the bird flu strain that has killed more than 70 people, mostly in South East Asia, since the outbreak began in 2003. Nor will she be able to test it in a human trial.
But she is looking into starting an animal trial using ferrets, which have similar flu symptoms to humans.
I can personally attest to how well elderberry syrup works; when I got the flu last week--and it was the real flu, not what most of us call the flu--I got rid of it in less than a week by taking elderberry syrup (specifically Sambucol but elderberry syrup in general is a Good Thing) and oregano spirits, and John and the kids didn't get it from me because I dosed them with Sambucol every time I dosed myself.
What makes me especially alert about this study, though, is that avian flu can kill the young and strong by creating what's called a "cytokine storm"; basically the immune system is revved up to the point of killing its owner. Elderberry syrup usually works by boosting the immune system, which isn't such a good idea in this case.
But if elderberry syrup is actually anti-viral, not just immune-boosting, that's extremely good news. As an herbal student I've been researching anti-virals in case of pandemic; if a pandemic does hit, the medical system is going to be overwhelmed and we'll all need whatever help we can get for ourselves and our families, friends and neighbors. I've been putting my hopes in kimchi (shown in South Korea to be effective against bird flus) and turmeric (a traditional anti-viral), but if further trials on elderberry continue to be promising, I'll be a lot more optimistic if we find ourselves out on our own. Meanwhile, I'm planting two more elderberry bushes in our yard this year--it's that valuable a plant, bird flu or no bird flu.
Oxidation of LDL cholesterol:Cardiovascular protection
Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.
At the scientific heart of the elderberry boom, Doctors Werner Pfannhauser and Michael Murkovic at Austria's University of Graz have found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.
From time beyond memory, magic, myth, and tradition have gathered about the elderberry and endowed it with a psychic influence that in some parts of the world rivals its medicinal value. The belief that the elder was the wood on which Jesus was crucified and that Judas hanged himself from an elder branch made the plant a symbol of grief and death. Mrs. Grieve writes in A Modern Herbal,"an old custom among gypsies forbade them using [elder] wood to kindle their campfires, and gleaners of firewood formerly would look carefully through the faggots lest a stick of elder should have found its way into the bundle...one sometimes comes across a hedge-cutter who cannot bring himself to molest the rampant growth of its spreading branches for fear of being pursued by ill-luck." In Europe, rural folk asked permission of dryads and witches for the use of elder.
Natural antineuralgic and relief neuralgia:
Elderberry wine contains natural medicinal benefits, a remedy for colds and flu, sore throats, and asthma as well as rheumatism. In Mrs. Grieve's A Modern Herbal, we read that adding elderberry juice to port and red wines to make cheap pseudo-claret and Bordeaux was common practice for centuries in Britain and Europe. The usual ratio of three parts elderberry juice to one part wine or port caused such a loss of business for the Portuguese port makers that in the eighteenth century the cultivation of elderberry plants in Portugal was forbidden. The practice of adulterating wine and port with elderberry juice continued, however. In the late nineteenth century, an American sailor in Prague told a doctor that his bouts with intoxication from "old dark-red port" cured his rheumatic pains. The doctor investigated the properties of the elderberry-enhanced port and found that the natural antineuralgic qualities of the fruit juice provided relief from the pain of sciatica and other kinds of neuralgia.
Austrian endocrinologist Dr. Sepp Porta uses elderberry concentrate in stress studies. "We only gave these people the elderberry for 10 days," he notes. "We put them through typical stress tests, all the usual physical challenges, and the results were so remarkable, I checked them over and over."In the study, various bio-markers of stress, including glucose, magnesium and other plasma chemical levels, were analyzed.
Elderberry skin care benefits:
A new study will be undertaken in the UK later this year to discover the nutritional benefits of elderberry fruit to the skin.Researchers from the University of East Anglia will explore whether the skin's condition is improved when exposed to a compound, anthocyanin, that give the berries their colour.
Led by Professor Aedin Cassidy from the university and Dr Paul Kroon of Food Research, the 12-week trial is based on oral application of the elderberry fruit, with participants either consuming extracts of the berry, or placebo capsules in order to assess whether the berry would be useful as a skin care application on the cosmetics market.
"If the results of our study are positive, it may lead to innovations in skin health products and may also give us vital information about diets which promote healthier hearts," said UEA's Dr Peter Curtis who is leading the project.
Post-menopausal women will have their skin structure and appearance measured with state-of-the-art equipment used by skin care experts, while at the same time being monitored to assess whether the elderberry extract could reduce risk factors for heart disease.
"We already know that a healthy diet can help protect against heart disease and skin damage, and that a mixture of similar food components have been shown to improve the skin's structure. There is also evidence that the active components have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be important in helping people stay healthy," Curtis said.
The fruit ingredient trend has remained strong within natural and organic cosmetic manufacturing, with many companies launching product ranges incorporating fruit extracts.
An unprecedented number of cosmetic products, from facial colour cosmetics to skin care lines, have been launched that incorporate fruit extracts - benefiting from the natural anti-oxidant properties they contain.
Now even self-tan/sun care manufacturers are picking up on the trend, indicative of the fact that things appear to have gone full circle in the industry, while increasing the prevalence of the natural and organic sector in the cosmetics market.
With market research company Organic Monitor estimating that the European market for natural and organic products is currently growing at 20 per cent a year, and set to surpass a value of pound 1bn, the trend for fruit extracts should serve to help take these figures to new heights.
Elder flowers grow in large flat umbels and are followed by small round deep purple berries. Elder extract has antioxidant properties and helps brighten and refresh and soften the skin.
Benefits of Elderberry Wine:
The elderberry has a rich history dating back many, many years. Ancient Egyptians applied the flowers of the elderberry plant to heal burns. Early Indian tribes used elderberries in teas and other beverages. In the 17th century, the British began making elderberry wine. They claimed it could cure the common cold and would prolong your life.
Elderberries can be used in pies, pancakes, muffins, jam and jelly. Unripe berries and all parts of the elder plant are somewhat toxic and can cause nausea when eaten.
Recent research shows that elder builds up the immune system and directly inhibits the influenza virus. Elder contains an enzyme that smoothes the spikes on the outside of the virus, which the virus uses to pierce through cell walls. Elderberries have also been recommended in cases of bronchitis, sore throat, coughs, asthma, colds and constipation.
Elderberry extracts, syrups and lozenges are available over the counter to build the immune system, ward-off illness and to fight colds and flu...but drinking elderberry wine sounds a little more enticing to me. On my last trip to Pennsylvania, I bought my mother a bottle of elderberry wine. I'm hoping that my source was right, and next time she feels the flu coming on, a glass of wine will do the trick...at least it couldn't hurt to try.
The flowers are the source of an essential oil that has a buttery consistency because it contains palmitic and other fatty acids, and alkanes The leaves and seeds contain cyanidin glycosides. Over compounds have been extracted from elder, including triterpenes, glycosides (e.g., sambucin, sambucyanin, sambunigrin), various anthocyan ins, flavonoids, sterols, and lectins. The lectins have been shown to have antiviral and hemagglutinin properties in vitro. Laboratory studies suggest that elder flowers have anti-inflammatory effects, and animal models indicate that elder preparations may protect the liver against toxins. Clinical experience in Germany suggests elderberry (or elderberry-containing products) may have mulecretory properties.
Elderberry constituents neutralize the activity of the hemagglutinin spikes found on the surface of several viruses. When these hemagglutinin spikes are deactivated the viruses can no longer pierce cell walls or enter the cell and replicate. Based on these findings, Sambucol[R], a syrup containing 38-percent standardized extract of black elderberry, was developed. Numerous studies using the Sambucol preparation have shown it to neutralize and reduce the infectivity of influenza viruses A and B, HIV strains and clinical isolates, and Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) strains and clinical isolates.It probably does so in the same manner as with influenza viruses, via neutralization of the virus resulting in reduced infectivity.
The clinical value of elder flowers and fruits has been clearly demonstrated, and no individual component has shown to have specific clinical value. However, elder's use in harbal mixtures has been evaluated in several controlled clinical. An elderberry combination product, Sinupret (elder flowers ,ombined with gentian root, primrose flowers, sourdock, and very, has been evaluated for upper respiratory infections in several ontrolled clinical trials in Germany, and some benefit has been t lemonstrated in sinusitis and bronchitis. Sinupret was compared to placebo in four double-blind clinical trials for sinusitis of 1- to 2-week duration. Two small trials (n = 31 and 39) reported benefits in headache symptoms and sinus x-rays, and a larger study of patients also reported significant improvement in x-rays vs. placebo (87% vs. 70%) and in self-rating of symptoms (96% vs. 75%). However, a separate trial of patients with chronic sinusitis found little symptomatic difference between Sinupret and placebo.
In several studies, Sinupret has been compared to established mucokinetic drugs, including acetylcysteine and ambroxol (de-rived from the Ayuverdic herb, vasaka) for patients with acute bronchitis. Similar clinical benefits were shown, and there was equivalent improvement in mucociliary clearance In an observational study involving over 300 centers, 3187 patients with acute bronchitis or exacerbations of chronic bronchitis were evaluated. Similar symptomatic benefits were reported with Sinupret as were seen with the standard mucokinetic drugs.
These studies did not evaluate elderberry separately, and those for bronchitis did not evaluate Sinupret against a placebo. Since the beneficial effects of allopathic expectorants and mucolytics have not been adequately demonstrated, Sinupret and elder flowers cannot be regarded as having objectively proved their value.
Using a standardized black elderberry extract (Sambucol), a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 40 Israeli subjects was carried out during an influenza outbreak. Symptoms and fever improved significantly within 2 days in 93.3% of subjects in the treatment group, whereas the same degree of improvement was achieved by 91.7% of the controls at 6 days (P less than 0.001). The preparation was also reported to increase hemagglutination in-hibition titers to infuenza B, and to inhibit replication of strains of influenza A and . Although this surprisingly successful outcome has led to the promotion of Sambucol for influenza, the study has yet to be replicated.
- 1.Sambucus nigra,Black elder,Elderberry and its narration literature.
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